Citizenship law challenged

OTTAWA — The federal government has no authority to strip a Canadian-born person of their citizenship, says a Toronto lawyer spearheading a constitutional challenge of new legislation.

OTTAWA — The federal government has no authority to strip a Canadian-born person of their citizenship, says a Toronto lawyer spearheading a constitutional challenge of new legislation.

Rocco Galati, fellow lawyer Manuel Azevedo and the Constitutional Rights Centre have filed a notice of application in the Federal Court of Canada arguing Parliament reached beyond its jurisdiction in passing the controversial measures.

They are asking the court to declare the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act unconstitutional, citing citizenship protections ranging from the Magna Carta to the Constitution Act, 1867.

For years, a newcomer could be stripped of Canadian citizenship if they attained it through false representations.

The new law, which received royal assent last week, expands the list of those vulnerable to revocation to people born in Canada but eligible to claim citizenship in another country — for instance, through their parents.

It also broadens the grounds for revocation to include several criminal offences including espionage, treason or terrorism.

Opposition MPs have denounced the provisions as arbitrary and nonsensical, as revocation could now result in deportation to a country the person has never set foot in.

The Canadian Bar Association said the new law revives the medieval punishment of banishment.

Galati and his associates are also seeking a court order prohibiting citizenship revocation and removals under the new provisions.

They also want the government to file copies of “any and all” memos, opinions or legal opinions concerning the constitutional authority of the government to enact the legislation.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office did not answer questions Wednesday regarding the law’s constitutionality.

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers has said it will also fight the citizenship measures in the courts.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he wasn’t surprised at the legal challenge.

However, the minister has vigorously defended the legislation, saying the public thinks it is “absolutely legitimate” to strip dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship if they commit grave offences.

“The Conservatives are at war with a court system that keeps turning back their bizarre legislation that fails to respect Canadians’ rights,” Mulcair said in an interview.

The legislation violates equality rights under the Constitution by creating separate classes of Canadians, says Lorne Waldman, president of the association of more than 250 lawyers who represent refugees.

The association also argues the proposed revocation procedures lack fairness and that a provision forcing new citizens to swear they intend to reside in Canada — and risk losing their citizenship if they later go abroad — would mean some Canadians have mobility rights while others do not.

Just Posted

Red Deer teacher contracts condemning same-sex relationships ‘not acceptable’

Eggen says Red Deer Catholic Schools assured him they no longer have employees sign the form

Second-degree murder trial on hold until January

Jury not back until Jan. 7 for 2015 stabbing death trial while lawyers argue evidence issues

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Stray dog spotted in one Red Deer neighbourhood, could be missing for 1 year

Red Deerians asked not to feed this german shepard

Witnesses describe scene of fatal 2016 collision

Delburne man on trial for manslaughter after being accused of causing collision

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Dumba scores twice, Wild rout Canadiens 7-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Reeling and banged up, the Minnesota Wild were… Continue reading

Coach Hunter wants up-tempo Team Canada as world junior squad hits ice

COLWOOD, B.C. — Team Canada coach Tim Hunter says the team that… Continue reading

Study finds female-led films outperform male ones

NEW YORK — A study organized by Time’s Up, the organization formed… Continue reading

Price Is Right contestant wins winter trip to Winnipeg, Churchill

WINNIPEG — Who wants to visit Winnipeg in the dead of winter?… Continue reading

CBC Gem streaming service to launch exclusive content, partners with Wattpad

TORONTO — The CBC has launched a new streaming service featuring live… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Most Read